The Vice President, Dr Bawumia has dismissed claims that the Free Senior High School (SHS) Programme could collapse due to lack of finances and gave the assurance that there was enough money for its long-term implementation.
He said the over GH¢1.2 billion allocated to the implementation of the free programme this year, was a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to ensuring its sustainability.
According to him, the free SHS remained a top priority of the government and as such they would continue to channel enough resources to address its challenges as and when they appear.Speaking at the opening of the Fifth Quadrennial and 52nd National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) at Cape Coast on Thursday, the Vice President emphasised that “we can afford the free SHS”.
He said the free SHS, coupled with the restoration of nurses and teacher trainee allowances as well as 100 percent increment in the Capitation Grant, was a further demonstration of the Government’s commitment to education.
Dr Bawumia further disclosed that the Ministry of Finance had released GH¢14,172,313.23 for the payment of outstanding transfer grants, allowances and salary arrears for validated teachers engaged between January 2013 and December 2016.
He noted that issues of validation and arrears of teachers had been a major challenge in the educational sector for years, with newly-engaged teachers bemoaning the long delays they had to endure before receiving their salaries.
He, therefore, gave assurance that the Government would do everything within its power to better the lives of teachers adding that, a motivated teacher was key to delivering on the vision of the President and the Government to ensure quality education.
The Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, said ensuring quality education was a collective responsibility of all stakeholders and advised parents to play their respective roles to make the government’s free SHS beneficial to their children.
The acting National President of GNAT, Madam Philippa Larsen, expressed her fear that the issue of accumulating salary arrears and its attendant challenges on the national budget was gradually creeping into the pay administration system of the country.
She, therefore, appealed to the government to critically assess the situation with the aim of correcting it without any further delay because it demoralised workers’ enthusiasm